Friday, February 4, 2011

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Dear Mom, I want this bowl when you get tired of it, or kick the bucket- whichever comes first.
Much love, really, Sandra
I know it is not summer, the perfect time for the endlessly packable, good at any temperature, make in advance-able bean salad; the thing is I just don't care. I made this salad in the summer (while I was in Texas visiting my family and my mother's awesome vintage bowl) and loved it then. Then I got a hankering for it on the last day of January. Well, you know and I know that this is not the right season for a decent tomato.  The little patch where I grow them in the back is currently buried under six inches of snow and anything else that I find is shipped in from some where far, far away and tastes nothing like summer. Even my husband will admit this, so this is huge.

Enter, canned tomatoes. Good quality canned tomatoes, whether you are using some you've bottled yourself or something from the supermarket can pack the punch off-season tomatoes can't even pretend to have. A quick word on buying canned tomatoes. All tomatoes are peeled in one of two ways, a bath of lye (I know) or a quick pop into hot water to slip the skins off. Go for the better of the two choices, you can taste the difference. Another reason to spring for organic tomatoes. I am serious about this one. And most places carry a store brand of organics that is not so spendy. And don't get the ones with basil, you want to choose your own flavor adventure and not have that already added basil in the way of your seasoning.

This salad is easy to put together and delicious. Hooray for good canned tomatoes, legumes and a lemon vinaigrette. Lemons are in season and citrus is one way I am riding out the end of winter around here. I served this as a meal with cornbread in a cast iron skillet, some shredded, seasoned and baked sweet potatoes and benne seed wafers (a classic Southern sesame seed cookie). Oh, yum.

Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad with Feta
Deborah Madison

2 cups black-eyed peas, (fresh, frozen or canned) I cooked up some dried ones in the crock pot in the morning
2 scallions, including an inch or two of the greens, thinly sliced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped, or 1/2 cup of drained, good quality canned tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped marjoram or 1 tsp dried oregano
2 to 3 oz feta cheese, diced or crumbled
Salt and freshly milled pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. salt
1 shallot, finely minced
5 T. olive oil

Dressing: Combine lemon juice, zest, salt and shallot in a bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. Then whisk in the oil, taste and adjust oil and seasoning to taste. Or if you are me forget to read those directions and mix everything immediately with a blender and enjoy anyway.

Simmer fresh or frozen peas in salted water to cover in a saucepan until tender; it will take 35 minutes to 1 hour. Give canned peas a rinse and shake off the excess water.
Put the drained cooked peas in a bowl along with the scallions, tomato, parsley, and marjoram. Pour the vinaigrette over the peas and toss gently with a rubber spatula. Add the cheese, some pepper, and toss again. Taste for salt. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


  1. Mmmmm...this sounds really good. I think I'll make and run around the house in shorts and pretend it's summer now!!

  2. I love salads like this. LOVE that bowl too. and then if you kick the bucket before me, can I be next in line?


    I will take it in May if necessary.

  4. Dear Sandra,
    Let's hope I get tired of it before I kick the bucket. I couldn't tell which one you were hoping for more.

  5. Way to go and hurt Mom's feelings.


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